If molasses can do this much damage, I don’t want to even think about sea level rise!
The 21 people who died in Boston on Jan. 15, 1919, had little warning of the events that were about to occur. According to an article published the next day in The New York Times , the only sound before the disaster was “a dull, muffled roar.” That was the noise made by the explosion of a massive tank of molasses owned by the Purity Distilling Company. Moments later, more than 2 million gallons of hot, thick, sticky molasses flooded the surrounding streets, destroying buildings, overturning wagons and trucks, and even knocking an elevated train off its tracks. Witnesses say the wave of molasses reached as high as 30 feet tall and it traveled as fast as 35 miles per hour.
For the people in the surrounding streets and buildings, there was no escape. Twenty-one people died, including three firemen who were killed when their nearby firehouse collapsed. Another 150 people were injured, and several horses were also killed. Police, a local Army battalion, the Red Cross and even the Navy arrived to help the survivors, but rescuers were hampered by the sticky goo that filled the streets. It took four days to find all of the victims, and another two weeks to clean up the molasses mess. Even today, nearly a century later, some people say the neighborhood still smells like molasses on hot summer days.